FRANKENBUG by Steven Cousins


Age Range: 9 - 11
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A fifth grader does Dr. Frankenstein one better in this uncomplicated debut. Adam Cricklestein has had an insect zoo in his room since the age of three, but has seen a fair number of his pets done in by nemesis Jeb McCallister, baldly introduced as “the class bully.” Adam’s outrage finally spills over when Jeb tortures and kills a beautiful luna moth. Blowing a year’s allowance on mail-order preserved specimens, he assembles parts of a Malaysian vampire moth, an African emperor scorpion, a hissing cockroach, a giant wetapunga cricket from New Zealand and other outsized arthropods into “Frankie,” an eight-inch, one-pound fighting machine. A jolt from a jar of lightning bugs brings Frankie to life—whereupon Adam discovers that his glittering warrior is a vegetarian, with a decided preference for marshmallows. Nonetheless, when Jeb smashes Adam’s scurrying science project, Frankie gives him a vicious pinch on the butt: or, as Adam writes, “Frankie got the bully in the end. If you know what I mean.” Jeb’s wild tale of being attacked by a humongous bug touches off a town-wide hunt, but when the dust settles, he’s forced to retire in disgrace, true colors exposed, while Frankie becomes a celebrity, and Adam a local hero. Fans of Carol Sonenklar’s Bug Girl (1998), Ralph Fletcher’s Spider Boy (1997) and other stories featuring young people and the creepy-crawlies they love will follow the exploits of this budding but ambitious entomologist with glee. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8234-1496-5
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2000